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Broadchurch was exceptional right to the last

Photo: Colin Hutton/BBC America
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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • The beauty of Broadchurch is about how the crimes of the town reflect everyone’s most sinister impulses. This season segued from murderous impulses to ones of sexual violence. The reveal of the rapist was almost anticlimactic, because it seemed equally probable that so many of the men could have been guilty, and we weren’t emotionally attached to him the way we were to Joe Miller (in fact, the only suspect who seemed sympathetic at all was Ed). The reveal of Michael as the culprit, egged on by Leo, was sadder than anything else, with Clive/Lucas’ last, pointless attempt to try to be a good father.
  • This season of Broadchurch was clearly trying to establish that porn in video and magazine form helps establish women as sex objects to be taken advantage of. I know that people have their different sexual appetites and there are probably people in porn or who watch porn who are very enthusiastic about it with no ill effect. But I appreciate what Broadchurch was trying to say about the ties to violence against women, that sometimes there is a straight line between misogyny and porn and violence. Leo watched two hours of it a day, undoubtedly warping his viewpoint. so that he could say things like “She does what she’s told; it’s only sex” and calling his actions “proud” and “beautiful” and have it be believable. The way the scandal touched both Miller and Hardy’s kids as well (who’s to say that Michael wouldn’t have then started grooming Tom?) raised the stakes even higher.
  • Mark, your suicide attempt is not a “fuss over nothing.” It was nice to see him and Beth come together again, but another bit of tragedy that he couldn’t pull himself together enough to be there for the family he has left. Another strong theme throughout Broadchurch: The women usually are stronger than the men. It’s too bad for Mark, but he cheated on his wife the night their son was killed. That’s probably not something any marriage can ever get over. Andrew Buchan did an amazing job in that scene though. And it’s interesting that Mark and Paul were the characters that had to leave the town in the end, while Hardy the outsider stayed.
  • “Nights like this I wish I still smoked.” “I knew you used to smoke!” Man, I will really miss Hardy and Miller. I get why she asked him to the pub, and I also get why he turned her down. They don’t need it; they’ll see each other tomorrow at work. Forever and ever, hopefully.
  • The Broadchurch score is always eerily effective, but never moreso than in the final episodes of the season, as various truths begin to unravel. Seeing Miller and Hardy crack the case using maps, strategically placed cameras, and straight-up detective work was extremely gratifying. My colleague Kayla Cobb over at Decider called the series a “perfect crime thriller” and the more I think about it, I think she’s right. The ending with those lovely postcard images, winding up at the spot where Danny’s body was found, was thematically perfect as well as artistically beautiful.
  • Hey, remember Gracepoint? Man, that sucked.
  • If you’ve been reading these reviews, you’ve probably heard me say this before, but Broadchurch was the very first show I was ever assigned to review weekly for The A.V. Club, all the way back in 2013. I think my first attempt at a review tried to pull the old “the town itself is a character” or some such rot. So I will always have soft spot for it, and it will always mean a lot to me. As do your comments: Thanks so much for reading.

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